Art Image: "Women" by The Lady Fidgets on Photobucket
“The biggest worry that Rob and I had about Bangkok was the flooding. We should have been more concerned about motorcycles.
“One of them ran a red light and side-swiped Rob yesterday, gouging his calf and knocking him to the ground where he hit his head. The Thai people were wonderful. One of them gave me Rob's glasses which had gone flying on impact. Another found a policeman who helped us to the clinic where rob was examined and treated.
“No ‘Where is your insurance card?’ or ‘Will that be cash or credit card?’
“The doctor just went right to work, cleaned Rob's wounds and told us what to watch for and to come back if there was any problem. Rob is achy and sore today but otherwise fine we are feeling so lucky because it could have been so much worse.
“Susan, I loved your blog today. All of them are thought-provoking. Today's post struck me especially because, had the motorcycle been going faster or a little to the left, I could so easily have been without a partner today.
“The idea terrifies me,” Marilyn, writing from Bangkok.
“In your posts you tell us more about the mental processes involved in coming to the end of an intelligent life—than the physical details. I am glad for this. As you noted in one post, Americans are more comfortable with jacked-up emotion than intellectual thought and that is why, I think, we have the awful Republican Debating Fools in public life and an over-emphasis on acquiring money, things and status that leads us to waste time on those empty pursuits with shallow people in our personal lives,” a London fan of SexyPrime and serious reader of Dying: The End Game.
No cancer updates today!
Let’s talk about turkey, the weather, traffic, the deplorable state of air travel, holiday shopping, dumb politicians …and, of course, your family grievances. No time like the holidays for wrapping yourself in the warmth of righteous familial anger. Odd that we give our loved ones such holiday grief when they are alive and then would give so much just to shovel in another disappointing turkey dinner with them after they are gone.
When I started writing about dying, I had one over-riding goal: Through sharing my story, empowering others to question their health care providers and do their own research, rather than accepting whatever treatment doctors recommend and uninformed family members endorse.
The responses have been humbling. I am putting together a book based on the posts, including new material, and the letters. (Carolyn and my daughter-in-law will finish it posthumously with profits going to The Grands.) People have reached out to (metaphorically) hold my hand, share their grief at the suffering of loved ones, thank me for publicly choosing the same path of questioning and resistance that they have done.
The responses have also helped me to widen my understanding of what dying is—if you are fortunate enough to have the time and clear mind to experience it.
With the end in sight, as I have written here, the machinations of little people mean nothing. Family matters. Friends matter. Private time matters. Enjoying a good book or movie, a fine meal and a meritorious glass or more of wine—or whatever your pleasures—matters. I’ve been given the gift of End Time, time to examine my life, forgive myself and make my peace with others, if only in my own mind and heart.
My readers recognize that. Many question why their friends and relatives still submit to brutal medical treatments that are unlikely to prolong “good” time, only increase the length of pain and suffering. I’ve received dozens of variations on this woman’s comment—
“I send your blog posts to my friend (45) who is preparing to undergo horrendous cancer surgery, her fourth round of surgery/chemo/radiation, and will not ask her doctors about her prognosis after. She says, ‘I have faith.’ She will not even read your words though I think she would find comfort there.”
Maybe the people who put themselves through every “medical option” available, though the prognosis is grim, are in part anesthesizing themselves against all modern reality, not just their own dying. Stop running in circles for a few days and look at what is out there, all those headlines you brush off like gnats or use only in cocktail party chatter to prove you “keep up.” The career fate of a winning college football coach is more important than the damaged lives of molested children. Dogs are a cause; hungry, battered, homeless children—not so much. Do you see their faces in PSAs? Too many politicians are idiots. Our financial institutions appear impossible for the government to regulate. Most public dialogue is riddled with hypocrisy as the speakers defend their positions. Who is listening to the other side?
My holiday season wish for all of you: Quiet time to reflect, private time with your lover (or vibrator), the will to become a better, more informed citizen and the grace to let go of the family disputes. While we gnaw at our own big dish of bones, Grievances, private and public—we may be missing the last romantic Christmas, a parent’s final days, the opportunity to have a conversation with a child that will stay in her heart forever.
Rob, I am glad you are still here.
IF YOU'VE MISSED THE PREVIOUS POSTS--
Dying, The End Game, Part Six: A Quickie on Questions People Ask
copyright 2008-2011, www.sexyprime.typepad.com; PARTIAL reposts only permitted with link back to original article on SexyPrime.